The increase in road fatalities in Ireland this year, which has also been experienced in other EU countries, is of significant concern. If the main objective of the 2013 - 2020 Road Safety Strategy to reduce road fatalities to no more than 124 by 2020 is to remain valid, we need to re-vitalise and strenghten our efforts to reverse this trend.
To that end, the RSA are currently pursuing a number of initiatives aimed at reducing fatalities and serious injuries among vulnerable road users (e.g. pedestrians and cyclists), including a new programme for schools targeting children 13-16 years and a new intervention to highlight the danger of low level speeding (travelling a few kms above the speed limit) and the consequences of this for vulnerable road users. The Road Traffic Bill 2016, which has passed all stages in the Seanad and which I intend bringing before the Dáil shortly, includes an option for local authorities to apply a 20km limit in built-up areas. The application of this measure has the potential to improve the safety of pedestrians and all other vulnerable road users.
In addition, RSA mass media campaigns, coordinated with actions planned by An Garda Síochána, will prioritise key issues, e.g., driver distraction, driver fatigue, drink-driving, speeding, non-seatbelt wearing, and worn tyres. An Garda Síochána has also confirmed that enforcement measures are being taken to address the worrying trend of an apparent increase in drink driving, specifically targeted at counties with the worst road safety record.
With respect to investment in road safety awareness, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has been self-financing since 2014 and I am fully satisfied that the Authority has adequate resources available to promote road safety.